Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture

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The Interstate Oil Compact Commission (IOCC; since 1991 called the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission), with headquarters in Oklahoma City, is a voluntary association of oil-producing states dedicated to the preservation of oil and gas resources. The IOCC originated with the writing of the Interstate Compact to Preserve Oil and Gas on February 16, 1935, by representatives from Arkansas, California, Colorado, Illinois, Kansas, Michigan, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas, meeting in Dallas, Texas, under the leadership of Gov. Ernest W. Marland of Oklahoma. The compact was approved by the Seventy-fourth U.S. Congress on August 27, 1935. On September 12, 1935, an organizational meeting in Oklahoma City established the commission to implement the compact's provisions. The commission's first chair was Governor Marland.

The federal government had recognized the importance of conserving petroleum resources as early as 1924 when it established the Federal Oil Conservation Board. The oil-producing states objected to this activity because they believed petroleum production control should lie with the states. When a major oil glut occurred in conjunction with the Great Depression, in 1931 Gov. William H. Murray of Oklahoma issued a call for the oil-producing states to establish an Oil States Advisory Committee. Its task would be to convince the federal government to let them form an interstate compact to resolve the twin problems of oil overproduction and lack of conservation. They were unsuccessful, and when petroleum conservation oversight fell under the auspices of the National Industrial Recovery Act (NIRA), the Oil States Advisory Committee disbanded. In 1934 the NIRA was declared unconstitutional, and at that point Governor Marland began the effort that culminated in the establishment of the IOCC.

By the beginning of the twenty-first century the commission had thirty full members, seven associate members, and seven international affiliates. On its governing body sits a member appointed by the governor of each state. Financed by dues from each member state, based on the value of its oil and gas production, the commission's primary purpose is to act in an educational capacity by providing information to enable states to develop oil and gas policy. Since its beginning in the 1930s the commission's work has remained with oil and gas conservation, but its focus has gradually shifted with changing circumstances. By the 1960s oil import quotas became a concern, and in the 1970s, when it became obvious that consumption was outstripping production, import quotas and foreign oil production became much more of a problem. In 1991 the commission changed its name to the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission and in 1996 it accepted its first international affiliate when Alberta, Canada, was admitted.


BIBLIOGRAPHY: Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission, The History of the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission (Oklahoma City: The Commission, 2002). Interstate Oil Compact Commission, The Compact's Formative Years, 1931-1935 (Oklahoma City: Interstate Oil Compact Commission, 1968). Interstate Oil Compact Commission, A Summary of the Background, Organization, Purposes, and Functions of the Interstate Compact to Conserve Oil and Gas (Rev. ed.; Oklahoma City: Interstate Oil Compact Commission, 1969).

Bobby D. Weaver

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